Grandparents Day Is Celebrated Every Day When Families Are Connected—It’s What We Do At Residences Senior Living

More than ever we realize just how important it is for a senior living community to ensure family engagement for the health and well-being of residents.  We knew that before the pandemic, but now everyone has come to appreciate even more how an older person’s mental and physical health are impacted so greatly by family ties. Attention to the greatness of family closeness and the special importance of older adults has been a source of emphasis this year around the globe. Residences at Deer Creek in Schererville, and Residences at Coffee Creek in Chesterton, take immense pride in acknowledging the role of seniors and their families in our local Northwest Indiana community every day.

Families visit on Grandparents Day even if they’re just sons and daughters!

Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day each September. A relatively new designation, in 1969 a 9 year-old boy wrote a letter to President Nixon with the suggestion. In 1970 Marian McQuade began promoting the idea in her home state of West Virginia, which was finally official in 1973. She continued her quest to create a national observance and finally on September 10, 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter issued the proclamation.  A profound proclamation, he stated that grandparents “are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us.”

Pope Francis designated a celebration at the last of June for the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.  The theme for 2022 is “In their old age they will still bear fruit.”(Psalm 92:15) Locally, Bishop Robert McClory of the Gary Diocese, sent a message to all parishioners lamenting how the initial phases of the pandemic cut off the elderly from all normal engagement with “sources of love and support.” He made another interesting  point; that “All of us were seemingly separated from the many gifts of the elderly.”  In a blessing for the elderly, he added “May we find new ways to appreciate, encourage, and stay connected to the elderly.”  

Residences Senior Living has a tradition since opening our doors of achieving this daily goal by listening to our residents and their families, attending to their respective needs, and keeping open to new ways of caring. “Closing the space between generations,” was another thought-provoking segment of the Grandparents Day Proclamation.  It’s what we naturally strive to accomplish as our Life Enrichment teams create opportunities to bring generations together, not only for family fun fests held in September for Grandparents Day but all year long.

Residents especially enjoy being Great Grandparents and having a visit with the newest member of the family.

The Value of Visits

As a premier senior living community presenting opportunities to help friends and families of our residents stay connected, we realize that sometimes families are separated by miles and even time. That’s where we step in to help.  

Using Wi-Fi and Facetime with help from our team, families are connected.  It’s something we encourage. We remind our residents we can help when they are feeling lonesome for family who live far away or have taken a vacation. It’s peace of mind for families to know they can stay in touch. They can play a game together or just chat. Grandchildren can make virtual cards to hold up that share love and support. Seeing is believing.  Families are still caregivers; they want to be sure they remain in charge of their loved one’s health and well-being. They want to see for themselves and thanks to today’s technology it’s possible when they cannot be there in person.

Daily activities and celebrations of special days and holidays to support families are so important. Of course, there’s nothing better than a face-to-face encounter and hugs all around. But many families find they are part of the “Sandwich Generation” presenting another challenge– time.  These are parents of young children or teens living busily scheduled lives. They have an added stress, wondering how to fit a meaningful visit to parents into an already packed week. It’s difficult to slow down from a fast pace.  The activities we create keep them in mind.

It’s always a party when families come for even minor holidays such as Fathers Day or Mothers Day.

Our monthly calendar is posted on our website so that families can see where they could join in an activity like painting or crafts, or entertainment “Happy Hours” or more that occur each month. Bingo is a favorite for everyone and a great way for a busy Mom to let go of stress. Laughter abounds during Bingo! Families participating in these activities enjoy a better quality visit with those who have memory issues; playing a game together creates conversation. A visit can be stressful when reduced to questions and answers; this can be frustrating for residents as well as families.

Sometimes we are a party waiting to happen! Check the calendar for themed days. We have had Luaus, Beach Party Day, Fall Bonfires and Cider, Family Fun Fests for Grandparents Day, Valentine’s Crafts and Treats, Pet Parades, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and 4th of July, and more.  The Prom is a super hit for families as well as residents. The most significant celebrations are for the more major holidays. These luncheons or brunch are very much anticipated and well-attended: Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. 

Our beautiful dining areas have adjoining areas where groups may gather.  There are several intimate nooks on each floor for smaller group gatherings. Birthdays and other special occasions can be celebrated with many family members in attendance. Reservations are made with the Concierge. The Chef may be able to support with special creations for a fee and advance notice. Otherwise, meals and refreshments can be brought in by the family.  Sometimes families plan Thanksgiving or Christmas in this way.

There’s always a special menu and even cocktails to enjoy during our celebrations.

Families, especially children, and teens benefit so much from visits with grandparents.  As Bishop McClory emphasized, the elderly have many gifts to share.  One that keeps the younger family members spellbound is the stories. They enjoy hearing tales about their parents’ youth. They enjoy learning about their heritage, generations gone by, “the great-greats” and other cousins and relatives they never knew existed. They can find out about the beginnings of family traditions. All of this provides a way to become grounded, by knowing and understanding their roots.  It builds sense of self. It helps to know maybe others shared similar feelings and experiences growing up. They gain a sense of hope that all things pass, that ugly ducklings become beautiful swans.

Words of wisdom—and recipes! Think how much it would mean to a parent or grandparent who is not currently cooking for a family to provide a favorite recipe and have it prepared by a family member. If nothing else, passing the senior’s taste test would undoubtedly be a family event! What if our chef made your mother’s best homemade soup?

There are so many creative ways to make new memories together in our senior living communities. Our team is constantly open to new ways and suggestions from residents and families. Together, we can continue connections and celebrate families, every day of the year. Happy Grandparents Day!

And there are always family “photo ops” and selfies galore to mark the occasion!
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